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Now get marks for having fun

CCE is set to give a breather to those studying in secondary classes. They can now look forward to getting scores for attending yoga and gardening classes reports Vimal Chander Joshi

education Updated: May 12, 2010 10:30 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

Both brilliant and average students studying in Class 9 and 10 can now take up activities such as quizzes, debates, gardening, yoga, astronomy, visit museums and wildlife sanctuaries and get credits for it at the end of the academic year. Times have changed and so has the conventional classroom.

Students now have to perform consistently rather than study for final exams at the end of the year, thanks to the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) method. Implemented in haste in the middle of the session last year, CCE took everyone, both teachers and students, by surprise. However, with one batch already evaluated on the basis of the new method, the haze surrounding the CCE system has cleared now. Many queries about the system’s functioning have also been answered at the CBSE workshops.

“Everybody is happy that students will now be assessed by teachers round the year. Quizzes and debates are an integral part of the new system that will make evaluation not only qualitative but quantitative too. The complete record of each student is maintained on a daily basis in order to implement the new process,” says Astha Bajaj, counsellor, Delhi Public School, Mathura Road.

Activities galore
Continuous evaluation would definitely make the teacher's job strenuous, but students stand to gain in the process. The idea of holistic education governs the entire philosophy of CCE. “Activities are tools to judge students’ performance. Technically, these methodologies have always been there and it's the only right way a teacher should teach. A teacher should be able to diagnose the problem and a set of tools and techniques should be exercised to do it. The earlier method catered only to the academically inclined and such students were few in number. Now everyone can get a chance to develop his/her space,” says Ameeta Mulla Wattal, principal of Springdales School, Pusa Road.

The scope of extra-curricular is also quite wide and covers varied disciplines. “Some choose gardening, others take up yoga, while a few join astronomy clubs. Earlier, joining a (cultural or extra-curricular) club was voluntary, but now these clubs draw maximum participation from the entire class,” adds

Wattal.
Students who love to travel have a reason to cheer as excursions are rolled into the curriculum. Whether it is a visit to the museum, or a wildlife sanctuary, students will get an opportunity to learn from these educational trips. “Students must be taken out on at least two trips in each term. The CCE follows a practical approach to improve the life skills of students. Mere academics doesn’t serve this purpose,” says Jyoti Bose, principal, Springdales

School, Dhaula Kuan.
Even senior academicians echo the same sentiment. G. Balasubramanian, former director (academics), CBSE says: “Classrooms will now offer more and better opportunities to students to understand their interests aptitudes, talents and skills. They (students) should grab this opportunity to display their best.”

Impact on teachers
The system will have a strong bearing on teachers and parents. The landmark change in evaluation calls for change in everything associated with the classroom. Teachers are required to develop special skills to be able to assess the students on new parameters. At the same time, parents are advised to be accommodating in facilitating this metamorphosis. “It is important to keep the size of the classroom to manageable levels, so that the teachers will be able to do a good job. As for teachers, they should equip themselves with new skills. Parents should desist putting pressure on their wards for exclusive performances in written examinations,” adds Balasubramanian.

The sceptics, however, say that with increased power and autonomy, teachers may abuse their discretion to harass students. But veteran teacher and former principal of DPS, RK Puram, Dr Shyama Chona disagrees: “It can’t happen in the new system. The entire evaluation process calls for a coordinated effort on the part of all the teachers. One single teacher can’t pass the final verdict about any student. The challenge of CCE lies in the coordination among teachers. Nothing could be better than this (CCE).”

The road ahead
But whether the new grading system will succeed is a question no one can answer at the moment. “I won't be surprised if the grading system is rolled back after a few years. We had the same system at IGNOU two decades ago. But students faced a lot of problems, especially at the time of job interviews, when employers would insist upon knowing the exact marks of the candidates. Eventually, we had to roll it back,” says MM Pant, former Pro-vice chancellor, IGNOU.

How it works
. Under CCE, a year is divided into two terms
. The first term starts in April and ends in September. The second starts in October and ends in March
. The nine point grading system ranges between A1 to E2
. Two formative (for scholastic performance - classwork, oral questions, home work and tests) assessments and one summative assessment will take place at the
end of each semester